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Commuter Dude: Battling icy roads with a solution that's worth its weight in salt

8:26 AM, Dec 18, 2013   |    comments
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GAINESVILLE, Ga- The Georgia DOT is hoping to keep drivers from getting into a pickle with an old school solution to icy roads.

"It really is just water and salt, the same mixture your grandmother would use to make pickles," said the DOT's Teri Pope.

When winter weather is approaching, the DOT will pre-treat potential trouble spots on state highways and interstates. Unhappy with the deicer they were using, the DOT has turned brine. The liquid is 12% water, and 88% salt.

Using spare parts, DOT workers created a brine maker that would have cost the state $24,000 to purchase. They've filled 16 holding tanks around north Georgia. The mixture is so heavy with salt, you can put it in your freezer for hours, even days, and it won't turn to ice.

The DOT says it's much more effective and much cheaper than the deicer they were using.

"It was made primarily from agricultural products that had fermented," said Pope. "It was a thick molasses like substance, and it stunk."

Crews attempted to use the brine solution twice last winter, but rain washed it away before it could get to work. The DOT says that's a common issue with any deicer.

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